Time trialling to the win in the final Hammer Chase following a strong performance in the Hammer Sprint, Team Sunweb finished the first edition of Hammer Series Hong Kong in 4th place.
The action got underway in Hong Kong with the Hammer Sprint held over 10 laps of the city circuit with a sprint each time over the line. The pace was elevated right from the drop of the flag with breaks struggling to gain any ground whatsoever in the opening laps. Team Sunweb were in the points early on through Max Walscheid before the race started to split and each rider managed to make a move and get in the mix.
A large split in the bunch saw a group of around 20 pull clear to fight out the final few sprints with Max eventually crossing the line first, and the team finishing 5th once the final points had been calculated. This put the team safely into the winners’ Hammer Chase group.
Starting 5th with a deficit of more than 1’20” to the leaders, it was going to be a tough task to make up ground over a short team time trial, but the guys put in a united effort and by the end of the race had caught and passed the team ahead to finish 4th, posting the fastest time of the Hammer Chase.
After the race, Tom Dumoulin said: “It was cool to race the Hammer Series in Hong Kong with an exciting race and we’re happy we could end it with a victory. It was a beautiful course, a pretty hard one as there was quite a lot of wind out there.
“In the end we managed to win the Chase so it was a good day.” When asked about the team’s strengths against the clock, Tom added: “We have a strong team of riders and have spent a lot of time focussing on the small details which has paid off for us. And we have some fast bikes too.”
Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek added: “We did a good race in the Sprint but were a bit unlucky with Max puncturing just before the double point sprint halfway. The guys were very motivated to make a good result in such special place, racing a Hammer Series in a world city. In the end we rode a good finale as Max, Tom and Simon made the first split. Simon was on the attack with Max to pull him to the line and Max finished it off. It was a good race.
“The Chase was a very controlled and solid performance by the team. I’m very happy how the guys recovered after a hard Sprint race and proud how we pulled it off. It was very exciting and spectacular racing right to the end today.”